Dealing with feelings of non-belonging, mistrust & thoughts on the afterlife.
Monolith is the perfect example of a creative project that comes from a place of deep human perception and consideration. The independent artist known as Astral Taurus makes music that reflects his views of the world and his direct feelings and emotions regarding those ideas, and you can hear this in the ambiance, the instrumentation, and, perhaps most prominently, the lyrics.
Mirage is the opener of this four track collection. The artist’s name and even the title of the EP and the songs within it would possibly conjure up a slightly different kind of sound than what comes through. The use of astrological terms and such concepts as a Supercluster brings about thoughts relating to electronic or experimental music for me. What’s always wonderful about independent music though, is when it truly surprises and yet still captivates and satisfies; when it forces you to re-address your assumptions – when it opens your mind and reminds you of the possibilities.
Mirage is a song loaded with emotion. The artist’s leading vocal performance comes through with a genuine level of passion and even reflective sadness on occasion, always catering to the line in question, and carrying the melody of the piece along with brilliant smoothness. Musically the track has a bright and uplifting ambiance, a simple indie-guitar riff introduces the soundscape, a high energy and warmth unfolds. Then as the verses come into play, the music falls away to allow the story line to really stand tall. The creative progression throughout is fantastic, the brightness of the music contrasts cleverly with the mellow and, as stated, somewhat melancholy sounding vocal performance and string of lyrics. Effective use of contrast has so much power in music, and the depth of the song speaks at even greater volumes amidst this colourful and hopeful backdrop.
Supercluster continues the indie-pop energy of the opener and presents a now familiar style and sound that follows on beautifully. The cascading riffs and varying instrumental moments intertwine and embrace the song’s ideas with compelling warmth. The distorted, electronic guitar solo further reminds you of the humanity behind the writing of this project. The sheer collection of instruments and the superb level of professionalism in terms of the final finish underline the effort and skill that really went into this self-produced project from Astral Taurus.
The sound throughout the EP is huge, and the louder you listen, the more the soundscape fills in those unsettled or uncertain gaps within your consciousness. When you listen loud and allow your mind to wander where it will, the music falls over you like a cloak of comfort and understanding.
Tyrant comes as a much gentler, more organic sounding recording, laying the artist’s vocal out in an almost acoustic arena, showcasing the reflective poetry and imagery of the lyrics, and really letting you hear that connection between the person and the idea. It’s a beautiful song and it features some powerful and memorable metaphors, as well as touching on the hurt and difficulties of life, and our inherent need for hope and for human alliances.
Chosen One is the closing track. Those very first few musical moments are soaked in optimism and brightness, yet the lyrics that immediately follow on from this present once more that sadness and disappointment that comes to most of us at some time or other in our lives. The final use of melody here is stunning, the song has the energy and familiarity of a timeless classic, a modern day, indie-pop moment to last a lifetime. The electric guitar solo is pretty sensational, a powerful way to lead into the mellow and thoughtful final few moments of lyricism and melody – again, a superb use of contrast and effective song structuring. The outpouring of instrumentation and ideas is huge; the song presents this wall or wave of audio experience that completely surrounds you.
The Astral Taurus sound is undoubtedly a distinct and characterful one, holding nothing back when it comes to expressing honestly those deep and often dark depths of human experience. Monolith is a must for fans of considerate songwriting and brightly crafted, instrumentally full and expressive indie rock or pop.
Monolith comes accompanied by a cover artwork that was painted in four sessions, each mirroring the subject matter of one song. Order now via Bandcamp. Find & follow Astral Taurus on Facebook. Visit his Website for more information.